- Joseph A. Del Russo, JD
Professor Del Russo Explains: Defendant's Motion for New Trial in Ghislaine Maxwell case.
Among issues in the defense request for new trial is that perhaps as many as 2 jurors failed to disclose that they were sexual abuse victims.
This is not your standard, obligatory, and generally weak defense motion for a new trial. unfortunately, a retrial is quite likely for three reasons: 1st) It is implausible that the question of prior sexual victimization was not among the initial questions that jurors are asked. And they are usually asked in a variety of ways, so mistakenly failing to disclose, seems quite improbable. Nevertheless, accepting the juror’s honesty, that alone would not make this a mistrial. most times there would need to be more. And there is. 2nd) another reason this conviction’s integrity is now legitimately questioned is quite simple, the New York Times is reporting that there was another, different juror who failed to disclose sexual victimization, and the 3rd) and undoubtedly biggest problem of all- — the first juror/victim, who doesn’t remember whether he was asked about sexual victimization, then tells multiple media sources, that he used his “superior” knowledge as a sex abuse victim to influence the other jurors. Elizabeth Loftus, an academic rockstar on the issue of memory distortion, testified in the trial about the potential impact of trauma (and the passage of time), possibly distorting the victims’ recollection of the the facts surrounding Maxwell’s facilitating Epstein’s abuse. And it seems that the initial juror/victim joined Dr. Loftus as a person with expertise and explained his role in the jury room as follows: “[When I shared that I was sexually abused as a child the other jurors] were able to come around on the memory aspects of the sexual abuse”. If the NY Daily News got the facts in this motion correct, Not good. Not good at all.